Posts Tagged ‘Bayern Munich’

Tomorrow (Saturday), my team Chelsea are playing in the UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich (Bayern Munchen). The annual Champions League final is the biggest game in football next to the World Cup Final. For the team who wins, it represents a bonus of some £50 million in increased revenue.

For English teams, if they finish in the top 4 of the domestic English Premiership, they qualify for the following season’s Champions League, a huge fillip to their revenues. This season (20011-12), Chelsea have failed to finish in the top 4, for the first time in quite a few years. However, should they win the final tomorrow, they will be allowed to defend their title next season, meaning Tottenham Hotspur, who finished 4th in the Premiership, will not qualify. Needles to say, Spurs fans are willing Bayern Munich to beat Chelsea.

The final standings in the English Premiership (2011-12 season)

Why do I, someone who grew up in Pembrokeshire, support an English club based in London? It’s all because Chelsea happened to win the 1970 FA Cup final, which was the first one I remember.

Chelsea Football Club

Within a few months of this win, my parents had bought me a Chelsea football kit, which I used to wear when I played my “fantasy” games outside in the back garden. My heroes of the 1970s team were Peter Bonetti, the Chelsea goalkeeper, and Peter Osgood, the centre forward. This might indicate my schizophrenia over my preferred footballing position, sometimes I wanted to be a goalkeeper and sometimes I wanted to be the one scoring the goals!

Chelsea didn’t enjoy a huge amount of success between 1970 and 2003, but that all changed when the club was bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abromovich. In addition to spending hundreds of millions of pounds on new players, he brought in José Mourinho, the manager who had taken Porto to the Champions League title in 2004. Under Mourinho, Chelsea enjoyed their most successful period in their history, winning the Premiership back-to-back in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, the FA Cup in 2007 and the League Cup in 2005 and 2007. Mourinho left under suspicious circumstances in September 2007, and since then Chelsea have not kept a manager for more than 1 season. This season started with André Villas-Boas as the new coach, but he was sacked in March of this year, to be replaced by the “interim” coach Roberto Di Matteo. The switch of manager seems to have turned Chelsea’s season around, they went on to win this season’s FA Cup, beating Liverpool in the final, and have made their way to the final of the Champions League, the biggest prize in club football.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who bought Chelsea F.C. in June 2003

This is the second time Chelsea have reached the final, they lost to Manchester United 6-5 on penalties in 2008. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can win it this time around, I will be glued to the TV tomorrow evening, hoping all the money Abramovich has spent in the last 10 years can finally see Chelsea claim the ultimate prize.

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